Tip Definition Via Rhinoplasty Difficult for Ethnic Nose?

Is it difficult to get definition via Rhinoplasty with a bulbous ethnic nose? How much change in appearance can one expect if it looks round and the desired look is a pointy one?

Doctor Answers 17

With ethnic rhinoplasty it is difficult to create a pointed nose due to thicker skin,

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With ethnic rhinoplasty it is sometimes difficult to give a pointed nose due to excess thick, oily, sebaceous skin. Certainly, the ethnic tip can be refined. The rhinoplasty operation is a sculpting of both bone and cartilage for refinement purposes. It is not skin surgery. The skin itself cannot be thinned with a rhinoplasty or a tip plasty operation. Thick skin will always cover up and blunt the sculpting that is done on the tip.

Tip definition via Rhinoplasty for ethnic nose

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Hi Corey,

Naturally, in all races the nasal tip skin is much thicker than the skin at the root of the nose (between the brows). For the shape of the nasal framework to be seen by the outside world, the overlying skin has to be both thin enough and pliable enough to DRAPE over the framework. The thicker and the less pliable the skin (such as in Black or Mexican-Mestizo noses), the less it will drape gracefully over the frame work.

In rhinoplasty, tip refinement can be done by narrowing the (lower lateral) cartilages of the tip, suturing them closer together thereby increasing their tip defining points, and repositioning the tip higher on the frontal (caudal) end of the septum for a higher tip projection. In thicker skin patients, in whom the skin has "memory" and refuses to drape over the new narrower framework, cartilage graft(s) (from the septum or ear) may need to be stacked on the tip to get the skin to drape better over it.

But - each case is very individual and the surgeons doing such cases always walk a thin line between refining the nasal tip without either feminizing a male nose or crossing ethnic boundaries and inappropriately creating an ethnically out of place nose.

I hope this was helpful.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Nasal tip refinement

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The problem with refining an ethnic nasal tip is getting the refinement to project externally. The usually thick ethnic nasal skin covers the surgically refined tip cartilage much like a thick blanket being thrown over your body. If the blanket is thick enough, you may not even know that there is a person beneath it. So if you have very thick nasal tip skin, your refined nasal tip will not show through. Good luck!

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You can achieve a lot of definition through Rhinoplasty

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Many ethnic noses tend to have thicker skin. Achieving the definition, narrowing, and refinement you desire has everything to do with how that thick skin wraps around the cartilage structure underneath. If the cartilage structure is well-defined and well-supported, you can achieve excellent definition. If the cartilage lacks shape, your tip will look the same--bulbous, wide, full, and lacking in shape. On top of that, ethnic patients often have a thicker layer of tissue under the skin that lays on top of the tip cartilage. In these cases, it is necessary to carefully 'thin out' the thicker pad of tissue under your skin so that the newly-defined cartilage can show through.

Ethnic rhinoplasty depends more on cartilage grafting (using your own cartilage to create definition where it is lacking) than does traditional rhinoplasty. So, you should see a rhinoplasty expert who has experience in ethnic rhinoplasty to ensure your chances at a great result. You'll see some examples of the results you can achieve on our website. We have found that a combination of tip cartilage suturing/grafting and soft tissue thinning, along with augmentation of your bridge and nostril narrowing, if required, can produce a beautiful and natural result.

Let us know if you have any more questions and good luck.

Jason Litner, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Tip Definition in an Ethnic Nose

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It is not difficult. If you have very thick skin then it can be hard but still possible. You have to be careful not to make it to pointy as it will not go along with an ethnic face.


Nasal tip definition with ethnic noses

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Calicorey, the word 'difficult' is a relative term when it comes to rhinoplasty. Less experienced surgeons may find this type of change quite challenging. Surgeons with extensive training and experience in rhinoplasty should be able to provide you with a noticeable esthetic improvement. Most ethnic noses tend to have thicker overlying skin, which necessitates specialized maneuvers to create more tip definition. The underlying cartilage structure will also be an important factor. In some cases, adding additional cartilage to the tip may be warranted to achieve the desired shape. In many cases, this is a better alternative than resecting, or cutting, cartilage to narrow the tip. In the end, the goal would be to provide you with sufficient amount of tip definition without creating a nose that is structurally compromised or appears surgically altered.

John M. Hilinski, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Ethnic Bulbous TIp

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There are several types of bulbous tips. Ethnic, cartilaginous and bulbous tips caused by scar tissue from previous rhinoplasty. From looking at your pics, it looks like you have a cartilaginous bulbous tip. The best way to see potential results is to have computer imaging on your nose to see what your nose could look like.
See video link below for further information

Tip Definition Via Rhinoplasty Difficult for Ethnic Nose?

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Tip definition can be enhanced in an ethnic nose, and the aesthetic results depend on your anatomy and skin thickness.  Computer imaging can preview the results.  Make sure you consult with a few surgeons experienced in ethnic rhinoplasty and look at plenty of their b/a pictures. 

Ramtin Kassir, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 155 reviews

Tip Definition in Bulbous Ethnic Nose

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Yes, it is difficult to get good tip definition in a bulbous ethnic nose, but improvement can be achieved, whether the appearance is due to thick skin or weak cartilages. During consultation with an experienced surgeon you will be able to establish reasonable expectations. Until that time, be optomistic; you may be pleasantly surprised.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Improved tip definition in an ethnic rhinoplasty

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While it is more difficult to see immediate significant differences in tip definition after rhinoplasty on folks with thicker skin, it can be done, but the final result will take some time to see and may require a second, minor in-office procedure. The key is to be patient and work with your surgeon, but don't expect to see significant tip definition right away after surgery as we would expect in say a rhinoplasty on a Caucasian with very thin tip skin. It may take several months or longer to see the final result, and so the key here is good communication with your surgeon as to what to expect.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.